There’s an acronym you folks are just going to have to get used to seeing this year, and that's "PHEV." Nope, it’s not the noise you make when you’re relieved that cop you passed didn’t whip a 180. It’s short for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. And if Mitsubishi has its way this year, it will become as ubiquitous as SUV.
Just in time for its California debut, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV reached a milestone of 100,000 units sold in Europe, making it the world’s best-selling PHEV crossover according to the manufacturer. And in a market that’s totally smitten over the crossover SUV segment, that’s good news for Mitsubishi. The Japanese brand has sold the Outlander PHEV with great success in the Netherlands and Scandinavia where they care about things like the environment. Hoping to catch some of that green rush, Mitsubishi’s California debut is full of hope.
The PHEV version of the Outlander was derived from a fully electric vehicle and sort of reverse-engineered to be a hybrid plugin. It comes with both front and rear electric motors, giving it improved traction and power through a system which Mitsubishi calls Super All-Wheel Control. Mitsubishi brags that the Outlander PHEV comes standard with DC Fast Charging capability which allows it to charge up to 80 percent capacity in as little as 25 minutes at commercial charging facilities. That's not quite as quick as the 2 ½ minutes it takes to fill a gas tank but it’s taking a step in the right direction.
Speaking on the European success and U.S. launch of the Outlander PHEW Don Swearingen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said, "The Outlander PHEV has been a game-changer for the brand since its launch in the European market, and we're extremely proud of the industry strides it's made ever since. As the latest addition to our U.S. lineup, we're excited to welcome the Outlander PHEV to the Outlander family and offer our customers the best of both worlds – EV efficiency and SUV capabilities. The new CUV model arrives at a time when Mitsubishi continues to ride its recent sales momentum as the fastest growing non-luxury brand in the U.S. in 2017.”
Get used to seeing a few PHEVs on a road near you because the plugins are heading our way, as many recent reports have already shown. That's good news for the environment but bad news for your home light bill—seems like a fair trade.